The group that oversees Madison County’s water services will soon have a new member.
Randy Wilson has announced that he’s stepping down as a member of the Madison County Industrial Development and Building Authority (IDA). And the authority agreed Aug. 18 to ask the county commissioners to approve their nomination of Tripp Strickland, CEO of Georgia Metals in Danielsville, as Wilson’s replacement.
IDA members serve at the pleasure of the board of commissioners. They have no term limits.
The commissioners were scheduled to consider the recommendation at their Aug. 25 meeting in the county government complex.
“I don’t know if I’m worthy to fill the slot, but if there’s anything I can do to help Madison County, I’ll sure try,” said Strickland, a University of Georgia graduate.
Strickland said he wants to see more businesses in the county. He said he expects Madison County to grow, but he wants it to “grow well” and he doesn’t like for the county to be considered simply part of “the Athens area.”
“I hate to see Madison County totally seen as a bedroom community, I want Madison County to hold its own in any arena,” he said.
In other matters Aug. 18, the IDA heard a request from Ray Inman, who requested that the county take over a private water system operated by Piedmont Water on Brownwood Drive, which is surrounded by county water services. Inman asked if the IDA could consider waiving the $1,550 tap-on fee and $75 deposit. He noted that the IDA stands to gain a number of customers and revenue from taking over the system. IDA executive director Marvin White said Tuesday that the IDA can’t waive such fees, adding that “if you do that, you’d have to do that for everyone.” The IDA members said they’d look into the matter and see what could be done, but the group took no action Monday.
In a separate matter, the authority learned that county water usage in July was down about a million gallons from June, from 8,789,895 to 7,707,615. The county now has 938 county water customers, up from 907 at the beginning of the year.
White also reported that the group’s budget for the past year was projected at $464,180, but expenses were actually $507,000.
White said Tuesday that a project that will link water lines from Franklin County to the Clarke County will likely go out for bid in October. The IDA learned earlier this summer that they received a $1.5 million loan/grant from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA), with $500,000 of that “forgiven,” or not required to be paid back. The remaining $1 million will be repaid with 2.1 percent interest over 20 years.
White said the county needs out-of-county water sources for long-term water stability. Right now, the county brings in roughly 3.5 million gallons a month of water from Commerce and Franklin County, with about one million monthly coming from Franklin. Commerce charges $3 per 1,000 gallons, while Franklin County charges $2.28 per thousand. White said that by linking the lower part of Madison County with the Franklin system, Madison County can start getting more of its water at a cheaper rate, saving between $2,000 to $3,000 per month on its water costs. The first stage of the water project is to run a water line from the soccer complex on Brewer Phillips Road down that road and then down Booger Hill Road to Hwy. 29. White said the IDA hopes to have the projected completed some time next year.